I have just discovered the new ingredients database, TellSpecopedia, and I warn you, click over and it will be hard to leave.

This clean, easy to navigate site currently details more than 1,300 ingredients found in foods and cosmetics from the common to the controversial. In other words it’s a great way to figure out that Lycopene in your ketchup is is not a bad thing. Brominated Vegetable Oil in your Mountain Dew, however, yikes.

It reminds me a bit of the excellent EWG Safe Cosmetics Database, though it feels a little more encyclopedic without the DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON red alerts. (Hey, I love EWG and rely on it a lot but you do have to take a few of the warnings with a grain of salt.) And should you be looking for an easy way to check out a specific concern, you can look up ingredients by topic, like allergens, or fetal development aids and disruptors. There are also good references on ingredients you may want to know more about, like high fructose corn syrup and taurine.


TellSpecopedia lets you easily search any common or controversial ingredient

Tellspecopedia: Easily search any common or controversial ingredient in foods and cosmetics

As for the name TellSpecopedia, which hardly rolls of the tongue (I keep wanting to call it Telescopeopedia, which is something totally different), it’s derived from TellSpec, the buzzed-about consumer food scanner that can analyze the chemical composition of any food in just a few seconds.

Consider how many more of us are getting better at reading ingredient labels these days, I think the database is a fantastic idea. It will be even better when it comes out as an app, soon. I’d love to be able to look up those multisyllabic ingredients right at the shelf.


Visit the TellSpecopedia online database to look up hundreds of the most common and controversial additives and ingredients.